Honey and Cinnamon: Is It Good for You?

Honey and cinnamon make for a popular flavor pairing. Both naturally sweet, honey and cinnamon are often included together in recipes for baked goods, oatmeal, tea, and even meat. 

While honey and cinnamon have been used separately for medicinal purposes, some believe that combining the two boosts their medicinal properties. The combination has been used in oriental and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. Honey and cinnamon together have been said to help: 

  • Arthritis
  • Cancer symptoms
  • Hair loss
  • Bladder infections
  • Toothaches
  • Pimples
  • High cholesterol levels
  • The common cold
  • Upset stomach / indigestion
  • Immune system
  • Heart disease
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Bad Breath
  • Hearing loss

In this guide, we’ll take a look at what science has to say about the benefits, and potential risks, of combining honey and cinnamon. 

Nutrition Information

To understand how honey and cinnamon might work together for your health, it’s first important to understand the nutritional profile of each ingredient individually. 

One tablespoon of honey contains: 

  • Calories: 64
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
  • Sodium: 1 milligram
  • Carbohydrates: 17 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 17 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams

One teaspoon of ground cinnamon contains: 

  • Calories: 6
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
  • Sodium: 0 milligram
  • Carbohydrates: 2 grams
  • Fiber: 1 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams

Cinnamon is also a significant source of calcium and iron. Two teaspoons of cinnamon contain:

  • 5% of daily recommended intake (DRI) of calcium
  • 2% DRI of iron
  • 40% DRI of manganese
  • 10% DRI of fiber

Potential Health Benefits of Honey and Cinnamon

Considering that both honey and cinnamon have health benefits individually, it  is unsurprising that they are also helpful when paired. The extent of these benefits is still being researched. Here are some of the benefits of honey and cinnamon that scientists have discovered. 

Reduce Risk of Heart Disease

Individually, both honey and cinnamon may lower risks of developing heart disease. Honey has been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels by 6%, triglyceride levels by 11%, and  potentially boost HDL (good) cholesterol levels. 

Cinnamon, in turn, has been shown to reduce total cholesterol levels. 

Since high cholesterol is linked to an increased risk of developing heart disease, the cholesterol-reducing effects of both honey and cinnamon together may reduce your risk of developing heart disease. 

Continued

Heal Wounds

Honey has been shown to help heal wounds, including foot ulcers caused as a complication of diabetes. 

Cinnamon may also help heal wounds. A test-tube study found that cinnamon oil helped protect wounds against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. However, further studies are needed to determine whether these effects would be helpful outside of a lab.

Arthritis Treatment

A study at Copenhagen University found that giving patients a mixture of honey and cinnamon before breakfast helped to relieve the pain associated with arthritis. Within a week 73 out of 200 patients were relieved of pain. After one month of treatment patients who could previously not walk or move around were able to move without pain.

Cure for Bladder Infections

Studies have shown that a mixture of honey and cinnamon can kill germs in the bladder. If you’re suffering from a bladder infection, a mixture of honey and cinnamon may provide a cure.

Potential Risks of Honey and Cinnamon

Always check with your doctor before using honey and cinnamon to treat a known medical condition. Although there are no known adverse effects of combining honey and cinnamon, it’s important to be aware of potential risks they pose separately:

Toxic Exposure

The majority of the world’s cinnamon is produced in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, China, Vietnam, and Burma. Recent studies have shown that cinnamon sold in retail stores contain high levels of coumarin and other toxic elements. Eating large amounts of coumarin has been associated with an increased risk of the development of cancerous tumors.

High Sugar Intake

Honey contains high amounts of sugar. A diet high in sugar can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on October 13, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Annals of Family Medicine: “Cinnamon use in type 2 diabetes: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis.”

Biological Trace Element Research: “Assessment of Human Health Risk of Toxic Elements Due to Cinnamon Ingestion in the Diet.”

Boukraa, L., 2011.“Honey in Traditional and Modern Medicine.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: “Honey, strained/extracted.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: “Spice, cinnamon, ground.”

Fruits, Vegetables, and Herbs: “Coumarin.”

Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research: “Medicinal uses and health benefits of Honey: An Overview.”

Journal of Cranial-Maxillo-Facial Surgery: “The battle against multi-resistant strains: Renaissance of antimicrobial essential oils as a promising force to fight hospital-acquired infections.”

Journal of Global Biosciences: “Therapeutic Properties of Honey.”

Mayo Clinic: “Cholesterol.”

ScientificWorldJournal: “Natural honey and cardiovascular risk factors; effects on blood glucose, cholesterol, triacylglycerole, CRP, and body weight compared with sucrose.”

Stand Up 2 Heart Disease: “Eating Too Much Added Sugar Increases The Risk of Dying With Heart Disease.”

The World’s Healthiest Foods: “Cinnamon, ground.”

WMJ: “Practical considerations of using topical honey for neuropathic diabetic foot ulcers: a review.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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